There can be any number of reasons an entrepreneur or business may need to attract investors. When traditional credit tightens, as it has done, seeking funding from investors can become a meaningful way to get the funds a business needs. But getting investors interested in a particular product or company requires some prep work. One part of the work is called a “deck”.
A deck is simply a PowerPoint presentation that businesses give to investors. A deck presentation can have a couple of purposes, but they are most often used to give investors a brief overview of a company or a product. They are not normally formatted as complete business plans.
In simple terms, a sales deck will introduce your company or product to the investor. Its strength is that it allows investors to see that you have put some quality time into your offering or product and have done so in some detail. The actual number of “pages” or “slides” enclosed in a sales deck can vary but is usually in the range of ten.
For those who may be new to creating sales decks, information is available online. One of the better sources for deck creation is How to Not Write a Business Plan by David Cowan. This source includes a template that can make creating the deck a snap. Generally, a sales deck will include the following:
- The cover (which includes company name and contact information)
- Mission statement: Present your company’s mission statement here
- Summary: Use this slide to summarize the key facts that you want to convey
- Company Team: Use this slide to cover your company team and highlight any accomplishments your company team has made in the past. Keep this slide in the past tense. In other words, do not go into future plans here. Save that for later
- The Problem: What is it the problem that you are trying to solve?
- The Solution: This is where you show your product or detail your service as it pertains to solving the problem
- Your Technology: Detail any technology that you have and will be using as you go about working your business model. List any proprietary technology that belongs to your company but be sure to not include any information that you want to keep to yourself
- Marketing plan: Detail how you plan to market your product or service. Include market estimates and demographicsProjected sales: If you have sales already, include that information here. If you do not have sales yet, detail how you plan to sell to your potential customers
- Milestones: Detail how you plan to move the business forward. It is wise to not go overboard here. Keep it simple and realistic
- Financing data: Use this page to detail how much money you need from the investors, how much you already have, and how you plan to repay any funds they may invest in your business. This does not have to be long and complex. Again, keep it simple and realistic and do not attempt to make this slide into a legal contract
- Conclusion: If you wish, you can also include a Conclusion Page in which you tell investors more about how and why you believe your company is a good risk.
If you do decide to use a template to prepare your pitch deck, keep in mind that if you really do intend to attract serious investors, you’ll need to customize the template such that it relates specifically to your company and your goals. Remember that investors tend to be savvy individuals who will quickly recognize a canned pitch deck.